George Washington Papers

Enclosure: Memorandum from Thomas Jefferson, 3 November 1792


Memorandum from Thomas Jefferson

To the bill which shall be brought in for continuing the act of July 1. 1790. c.22. ‘providing the means of intercourse between the U.S. and foreign nations’ it is proposed to add the following clause.1

And be it further enacted that where monies have issued, or shall issue, from the Treasury, for the purposes of intercourse or treaty with foreign nations, under the authority of the said act,2 or of the present or any preceding act,3 the President shall be authorized to refer the settlement & delivery of Vouchers, for all such parts thereof as in his judgment may be made public to the Auditor of the U.S., and for all other parts, to such person as he shall appoint, presenting for their government such rules as the nature of the case shall in his opinion require.4

AD, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters.

1For the act of 1 July 1790, see “An Act providing the means of intercourse between the United States and foreign nations” (1 Stat. description begins Richard Peters, ed. The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, from the Organization of the Government in 1789, to March 3, 1845 . . .. 8 vols. Boston, 1845-67. description ends 128).

2Jefferson’s first of two footnotes written in the left margin indicates that this act is that of “July 1. 1790. c.22.” (see note 1).

3Jefferson’s second footnote reads: “to wit, 1791. Mar. 3. c.16 [and] 1792. May. 8. c.42.§.3[.] note the acts of 1790. & 1792. use the terms ‘intercourse with foreign nations[’]; the act of 1791. is expressly for a treaty with the emperor of Morocco.” The act of 3 Mar. 1791 is “An Act making an appropriation for the purpose therein mentioned,” that is, the appropriation of a sum not exceeding $20,000 “for the purpose of effecting” a treaty with the new emperor of Morocco (ibid., 214). Jefferson erred in referring to the appropriate act of 8 May 1792. He meant to cite chapter 41, “An Act making certain appropriations therein specified,” section 3 of which appropriates $50,000 to “defray any expense which may be incurred in relation to the intercourse between the United States and foreign nations” (ibid., 284–85).

4The substance of the clause proposed by Jefferson was incorporated in section 2 of “An Act to continue in force for a limited time, and to amend the act intituled ‘An act providing the means of intercourse between the United States and foreign nations,’” approved on 9 Feb. 1793 (ibid., 299–300).

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